threatening cases, the disease may affect breathing, blood pressure, or heart
Zika infects populations at high rates. A 2009 study based on antibody
surveys estimated that an “astonishing” 73% of the population had become
infected with Zika virus during the big outbreak in Yap, an island group in
the Western Pacific that is part of the Federated States of Micronesia.
60% of the United States population live in areas conducive to seasonal
[Zika] transmission,” and even some that live in areas where yearlong Zika
transmission is possible.
26 As of January 18, 2017, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (“CDC”) reported 217 locally acquired mosquito-borne cases of the Zika virus, and 4,682 travel-associated cases.
B. The Scramble for a Vaccine
Because of the devastating potential of Zika, public health authorities,
academic researchers and vaccine manufacturers are in a race to develop a
safe and effective vaccine that will protect against the disease.
vaccines often take ten to fifteen years to develop, recent public health
emergencies have demonstrated that political will and financial incentives
may accelerate that time frame.
29 An H1N1 vaccine was developed within
four months of the discovery of a new pandemic strain of the virus.
Ebola vaccine developed through a complex research and development
network involving the Public Health Agency of Canada, NewLink Genetics,
Merck, and IDT Biologika, showed 100 percent effectiveness after the
development process accelerated with the West Africa epidemic that
25. Enserink, supra note 11, at 1012.
26. McNeill et al., supra note 10, at 360.
27. Case Counts in the United States, CTR. FOR DISEASE CONT.,
https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html (last updated Jan. 19, 2017).
28. Katie Thomas, The Race for a Zika Vaccine, N.Y. TIMES (Nov. 19, 2016),
zika-vaccine.html?_r=0 (“Similar meetings were occurring elsewhere in the vaccine world —
at small companies like Inovio Pharmaceuticals and NewLink, in the offices of big
manufacturers like GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, and at the Walter Reed Army Institute of
Research, which is a few miles from the N.I.H. campus . . .”); Phase 2 Zika Vaccine Trial
Begins in U.S., Central and South America, NAT’L INST. OF HEALTH (Mar. 31, 2017),
29. Vaccine Development, Testing, and Regulation, HIST. VACCINES,
http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-development-testing-and-regulation (last updated Jan. 27, 2016); Thomas, supra note 28 (demonstrating the political
and financial incentive of accelerating vaccine development in times of public health
30. Zakariya Al-Muharrmi, Understanding the Influenza A H1N1 2009 Pandemic, 10 QU
MED. J. 187, 187 (2010).